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Best Small Soundbars of 2020

As far as technology goes, the wider the screen the better, but smaller accessories are preferred. The same goes for your TV. The most sought after home entertainment systems may include Dolby digital surround sound, a screen wider than 40 inches, and excellent audio performance for the ultimate audio experience. However, TVs alone may not come with the sound quality you desire, which brings the need to purchase the best small soundbar.

Top 7 Small Soundbars – Reviews & Buying Guide

1 – Sonos Beam – Smart TV Sound Bar with Amazon Alexa Built-In

If you care about aesthetics and interior decoration as much as we do, then the Sonos Beam smart soundbar is the choice for you. This best soundbar comes in 2 different colors (black and white) to match your interior. Aside from that, it doesn’t take up much area in your living room and provides excellent audio quality for you to hear every word pronounced clearly.

Would you believe that this sound bar was professionally and expertly tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers? Well, you better believe it! The bar sounds amazing enhancing the audio on your screen. Overall, it’s one of the best soundbars in the market today.

PROS:

  • The beam is wall mountable to keep out of your way
  • It may not be a budget soundbar, but the sound experience speaks for itself.
  • Quite a compact sound bar design.
  • Sonos Beam is a trusted name in the smart soundbar field as it’s being tuned by Oscar-winning sound engineers.
  • It features a bilingual Alexa, Google Assistant, and Airplay 2. 
  • The settings and setup are easy to understand and follow-through.
  • Remote control the Sonos Beam with nothing but your voice.
  • The expandable system is customizable and easy to build on.
  • The soundbar comes in 2 different colors, the best choice for those looking for more options.
  • It has an HDMI Arc, optical audio, two HDMI inputs, and Wi-Fi

CONS:

  • It unfortunately isn’t very streamlined.
  • It won’t work with LG OLED.
  • No Dolby Atmos

With Amazon certified Alexa built-in, you have voice control which allows you to manage everything from checking the news to setting alarms completely hands-free. With convenience as something we prize so highly in this day and age, being able to command our devices with nothing but our voices are among the features we all desire. There’s also Google Assistant and Airplay 2 Support. 

The simple setup and expandable setup (you can choose to purchase the soundbar alone or the 3.1 or 5.1 set), the Sonos Beam soundbars not only offers exceptional quality, but the experience, and they add to your enjoyment of music and movies as well. 

The Alexa embedded in this system is bilingual and speaks both Spanish and English. If you use Google Assistant, it’s also available in the Sonos Beam!

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2 – Bose Solo 5 TV Soundbar Sound System with Universal Remote Control

Depending on your needs, you can purchase the soundbar alone, or with the wall mount or the TV sound system with digital optical cable. The soundbar will outdo your TV in terms of sound quality and sound power. Movies and music will never be the same again.

The dialogue and every sound detail will stand out and immerse you in the experience. It’s also more affordable than the above Sonos Beam option.

This soundbar doesn’t have Alexa, but it does have Bluetooth connectivity that delivers wirelessly streamed music straight from your mobile device.

PROS:

  • These sounding bars alone can outperform your TV speakers.
  • For the best audio and dialogue sound, the Bose soundbar comes through.
  • Utilize the Bluetooth connectivity to wirelessly stream music from your mobile devices.
  • It features a universal remote control that the Sonos option doesn’t have to control the TV, Bluetooth, subwoofer bass and more.
  • The one connection to your TV will change the way you view movies forever.
  • This soundbar is mountable on the wall
  • Setup is incredibly easy for this device.

CONS:

  • The sound quality may not be comparable to other Bose products.
  • No Dolby Atmos

The Bose Solo 5 has only one connection to the TV, optical digital input or coaxial audio input. 

With the featured TV, universal remote, you can control the subwoofer bass, Bluetooth and more. With over 2000 satisfied consumers, it’s a safe choice just based on the review alone.

At 21.6 inches wide, the compact soundbar will provide surround sound like audio performance. At its price point, it’s definitely one of the best soundbars out there.

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3 – YAMAHA YAS-108 Soundbar with Built-in Subwoofers & Bluetooth

There are many buying package options for you to choose one that fits your home entertainment needs. For this slim and compact soundbar, there are built-in subwoofers for impressive and deep bass. What’s a movie without proper audio effects?

Experience supreme audio clarity and with wireless Bluetooth control of up to 33 ft (unobstructed) for you to stream music straight from your mobile device.

This best soundbar supports HDMI Arc, has Toslink optical, 3.5mm analog, and Bluetooth.

PROS:

  • Get the ultimate experience when watching movies or listening to music with this Yamaha soundbar which features Bluetooth, surround sound and more than one subwoofer for pounding bass.
  • One of the best soundbars (review list here) that enhances vocal frequency range for even clearer audio.
  • There are keyholes in this soundbar for easy mounting on the wall if that’s more up your alley.
  • It can even be paired with Google Assistant or Alexa (although these aren’t built-in).
  • This smart soundbar features 4K connectivity.
  • The low power consumption won’t take too much energy to power this soundbar.
  • Stream via bluetooth and switch easily between two devices.

CONS:

  • The performance could be erratic with less than impressive sound quality.
  • No Dolby Atmos

Yamaha is a trusted producer of the best soundbars, and even with such a slim and unassuming device you get to experience DTS virtual X 3D surround sound! It also saves on your utility bills with standby power consumption of only 0.4 watts.

As for the setup, the simplicity rivals both the Bose and Sonos options with HDMI arc, optical or aux cables.

You would think a compact soundbar wouldn’t be capable of providing the best audio experience. But with Dolby Digital surround sound, this Yamaha soundbar is no joke. With DTS Virtual X, this is the soundbar that’s close to an immersive sound experience. Not to mention more than one subwoofer built-in for enhanced bass. You can’t have thumping bass without a good subwoofer.

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4 – Samsung HW-N400 TV Mate Soundbar

If small is what you are looking for, then look no further with this Samsung soundbar. Samsung is one of the best names in the technology game, so you can be sure your purchase is of good quality.

The Samsung HW-N400 is easy to connect it to your TV, but like most smaller soundbars (except for the Yamaha), it lacks a built-in subwoofer or two. However, that doesn’t stop you from purchasing a wireless subwoofer instead.

It does, however, come with wireless Bluetooth streaming features for you to play music straight from your device.

Connectivity options in this soundbar include HDMI input/output, USB port, 3.5mm aux, and optical digital audio input.

PROS:

  • It comes with a wide-range tweeter that amplifies the sound to any position you are in.
  • You can pair this soundbar with your TV seamlessly via the wireless Bluetooth.
  • Not only does the Bluetooth allow you to pair your tv and soundbar, but also to stream music directly from your device.
  • The Samsung HW-N400 comes with one remote that allows you to adjust and set the power, volume and sound effects.
  • Or you can download the Samsung app and control everything from your phone.
  • While this best soundbar already simulates surround sound, you can expand on your setup with the wireless surround kit.
  • The compact size of the Samsung HW-N400 is easy to place in any household.

CONS:

  • The connection may be unstable and the sound may drop unexpectedly.
  • The pairing may be difficult.
  • No Dolby Atmos

Control everything in the palm of your hand with the remote control. You can even do so from your phone once the devices are paired up.

Right upon setup (which is easy with the HDMI port), you can experience surround sound immediately from this soundbar.

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5 – BYL TV Sound Bar Wired and Wireless Bluetooth Audio Speakers

All 28 inches of this compact soundbar was expertly designed for sound quality. The advanced and full-range drivers propel the sound in every direction, hitting you with strong and powerful audio bass from the speakers.

The Bluetooth isn’t your run of the mill technology, but the 5.0 that can reach a range of 33 feet unobstructed. 

As for the connection to your TV, this is one of the best soundbars where you have many choices. Choose between wired and wireless, with your options being Bluetooth, RCA, optical and USB.

PROS:

  • Its compact size presents you with a lot of options in terms of placement.
  • Was built with superior craftsmanship with bass reflex tubes and full range drivers.
  • The bass reflex tubes provide stronger bass.
  • The speakers blast the sound evenly around the room.
  • You have a wide range of choices in terms of connection, including wired and wireless options.
  • DSP technology brings the theater home with you and supports 3 sound modes.
  • Enjoy free lifetime technical support.
  • The 5.0 bluetooth gives strong connectivity up to 33 feet!

CONS:

  • The connection might be unstable and fails after a few weeks.
  • No Dolby Atmos

The DSP technology in this soundbar allows you to bring the theater home by supporting 3 different sound modes: movie, dialogue and music. Choose which best suits the content you are viewing for the best sound on your speakers.

The imported speakers and full-range drivers not only deliver panoramic sound, but are also highly durable.

For those who prize the bass in sound effects, there are 2 built-in bass reflex ports. You can also set the treble and bass on the included remote for a customized experience.

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6 – VIZIO SB2920-C6 29-Inch 2.0 Channel SoundBar

The form factor of our next choice on the list is a compact 29-inch 2.0 channel soundbar.

The Vizio soundbar delivers 95 decibels of crystal clear sound with little to no distortion. Of course it comes with Bluetooth built-in as well, as that is a basic feature most soundbars now possess.

PROS:

  • Stream your music seamlessly with the built-in Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
  • Enjoy 95 decibels of expansive audio.
  • The soundbar features DTS Studio Sound, DTS True Volume, and DTS Trusurround, a lot of power packed into a mini design.
  • The exterior style of the soundbar is sleek and fits in with any interior
  • The full-range audio speakers will pump out immersive sound.
  • Control everything with the included remote or the control panel right on the speaker itself.
  • Affordable price

CONS:

  • The setup of the speakers could be difficult and the customer service unhelpful.
  • The wireless or wired connection may not be the best.
  • No Dolby Atmos

Upgrade the software for extra punchy bass. It’s also amazing how Vizio can simulate DTS Studio Sound, DTS True Volume, and DTS Trusurround with this compact design. So even if you don’t have the 5.1 audio channel system, you can still get awesome audio with this model. 

The setup is easy with a clear instructions manual with your purchase. Although it does not come with a built-in subwoofer or two, it does have full-range stereo speakers that delivers equally impressive sound at a low price tag.

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7 – Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim Universal TV Soundbar

We were debating whether to include this best soundbar due to the wireless subwoofer. The point of a compact soundbar is to take up less living room space, which a wireless subwoofer does not do. However, the bar alone is an ultra-slim design that is worth mentioning.

There are 5 full-range drivers that delivers satisfyingly pounding bass along with the subwoofer. If you are looking for excellent sound, the Polk is an affordable option that is on par with Yamaha, Bose and Sonos soundbars. With a thickness of just 2 inches, it slides in easily in tight spaces or could be mounted on the wall for convenience.

The HDMI inputs, aux and optical inputs allow you to pair this device with your smart TVs and enjoy the best of movies.

Your purchase comes with all the necessary cables needed for an easy setup, although placement of the subwoofer can be a bit tricky. If you have an area along the front wall, that’s an ideal spot.

If wireless is more for you, Bluetooth allows you to stream wirelessly from your device.

PROS:

  • The slim design is an easy fit on any surface or wall space.
  • It comes with a wireless subwoofer for enhanced bass effects.
  • The 5 full-range drivers plus the subwoofer propel the sound around the room to create the perfect immersive sound experience when watching movies or listening to music
  • It has a cheaper price compared to the bigger names such as Sonos.
  • Set it up easily with HDMI, aux or optical inputs.
  • Bluetooth is available for wireless streaming.
  • The package comes with everything you need.

CONS:

  • Might be unstable and turns off 
  • Connection may be unstable as well.
  • No Dolby Atmos

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What to Look for When Buying the Best Compact Soundbar?

As far as technology goes, the smaller the better. The smaller your device the more efficient it is. Also when housing prices are skyrocketing and the allotted space in a newly purchased apartment may not exceed 500 sq feet, it’s only natural you want something space-saving. Other than its size, what other factors should you look for when deciding on the best soundbars or speakers? We must first preface this by saying its small size may limit the features they offer.

Budget

The first point is budget. After all, you cannot expect to get started on anything without establishing a the price you’re willing to pay. Only then can you go into more detail and identify the features a soundbar within your budget may have. Some of the options we presented above have an affordable price tag, with one not even exceeding 100 dollars. However, some more renowned names such as Bose, Sonos or Yamaha could cost you a bit more when it comes to price. Don’t go for the brand, go for the features and reliability instead of the price. Although we should mention that there is usually a correlation between price, brand and quality.

Location

Where is your little soundbar going to set up shop? Look at your space and your setup to figure out the answer to this question. Sometimes, 5.1 channels simply isn’t going to fit. Some soundbars, like many of the options we provided above offer versatility in terms of setup. Not only can they be laid flat on a surface, namely your entertainment unit, or they can be wall-mounted. Whether it be laid flat or mounted, the sound should hit you straight at 180-degrees and spread out around the room with the help of better drivers. The location if reliant on your preference and convenience.

Size

If you are reading here, then chances are you are looking for a smaller soundbar for a reason. Compact soundbars can range anywhere from 20-30 inches. What you should consider before purchasing one is the location, size of your TV, size of your living space. Strictly speaking, a sound bar shouldn’t exceed the length of your TV. They are usually smaller or of the same length for a more even and structured look. The size is another preference-related choice.

Channels

Now looks aside, we are getting to the features of the soundbar now. The channels are basically where the sound is delivered from. You can make an assumption and say the more channels you have, the better and clearer the sound. Most shows and movies we watch on TV or Netflix have 5 sound channels. 2-3 channels have the speakers embedded to the left and right, or left right and center. If you purchase a soundbar with 5 channels, you’re looking at right, left, center and two rear speakers. For perfect sound standards, the 5 channel soundbar has been the basic standard for over 2 decades. 7 channel is the new and improved 5, which are essentially the same except the two rear speakers are split into two.

Subwoofers

Along with stereo speakers, some soundbars come with subwoofers. The smaller the soundbar the more difficult it is to have built-in subwoofers. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot purchase your own subwoofer and connect it that way. Some options presented above have built-in subwoofers for enhanced bass that can potentially vibrate through your entire body. Then we have ones that come with a wireless subwoofer that could take up more room. If you’re reading here for the best soundbars that will take up less space, it is unlikely you would want a wireless subwoofer to get in the way. We do stress the importance of a subwoofer however, for those who value high-quality sound with a booming bass. But if you really want an immersive sound similar to theaters, purchase something that has Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology. Note, however, that DTS:X and Atmos require multiple speakers. 

Connections

Next up is the connections. Most likely, the subwoofer you purchase will come with a variety of connections. There are a few basic wired and wireless options that you should look out for.

  • Wireless options include: Bluetooth & Wi-Fi. Although Wi-Fi is less common and almost not found in smaller options. 
  • Bluetooth allows you to stream music from your device, while Wi-Fi allows streaming from anywhere on the Internet. 
  • HDMI arcs are connected to your audio return channel (the ARC), and it’s ready to go. Many options such as the Sonos Beam and others have this form of connection. Another thing to consider are HDMI inputs, as soundbars with multiple HDMI inputs allow more flexibility.
  • Optical ports. A lot of options come with this as well as it’s the easiest and most reliable form of connection. 
  • USB inputs. It’s almost an old-school concept, and unless you are looking to play something within your USB drive, we would say it’s not entirely necessary.

Control

How you control your device should also be a very important feature. Some come with hands-free voice control with the help of Alexa, and others come with a compatible app and remote control. Certain ones even feature a control panel on the device itself. Sometimes to save you the hassle, your existing remote may even be configured to control the sound bar or speaker. A universal remote sounds much better than having 5 gathering dust on your coffee table.

Warranty/Guarantee

The last piece of knowledge we will impart is the warranty/guarantee. This has nothing to do with the device, but more protection for you as a buyer. Whenever you buy a product, it’s important to know it’s “insured”. If you receive a faulty product, the product has manufacturing defects, or missing parts, you want to have the option of returning or exchanging the product, and the best soundbars should have a warranty included. 

What is a Soundbar?

You may be asking this question. What’s the difference between a soundbar and a speaker? It’s basically a type of loudspeaker that projects and enhances the sound played on your device. It can be mounted or laid flat and are usually paired with TVs. However, there are also PC specific soundbars that are great for gamers if they want to feel the game come alive as they conquer lands and battle monsters. But basically, you’re investing in a soundbar to improve the speaker on your TV. Usually, that type of speaker doesn’t really do the job. Compared to a speaker, a soundbar may be more advanced. 

Are Soundbars Worth It?

While it’s not a lot of money, you still wonder whether or not you should even get a soundbar. Maybe you find the TV speakers working just fine. Let’s just put it this way. If you care about the sound quality or find yourself barely understanding what the characters are saying? Then you should get a soundbar. They help enhance not only the sound but the overall cinema experience you have. You can bring the theater home with you with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology. So our answer is a resounding YES! These devices are worth it especially if you purchase the best soundbars with good quality. 

Which Soundbar is Best to Buy?

The “best” of something is purely subjective, in our opinion. What may work for one person may not work for you. What you need may not be what someone else needs. However, we can recommend some good brands to consider that have consistently put out quality products. What’s more, we have introduced most of them in our best 7 list! Bose, Yamaha, Sonos and Sony are among the best soundbar brands to consider when purchasing sound technology. If you want fully immersive sound, you can choose a unit that offers Dolby Atmos and DTS:X technology. 

Can You Add Speakers to a Soundbar?

Similar to adding a subwoofer, sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t. Some options may even have combo or set purchasing options that come with other add-ons that can be made to simulate a home theater system. If you want the audio effect to be louder and clearer, by all means figure out if the soundbar allows additional speakers and subwoofers to customize your own home entertainment system to give you the best experience. You may never want to leave your home when you have a subwoofer in place!

Is Surround Sound Important?

If you want to feel like you are a part of the show, then surround sound, also known as cinema sound can be very important. However, without actually having many speakers placed around your house or room in different locations, you won’t really be getting “surround sound”. In reality, it just means there is less digital delay, which gives you the impression like you are in a bigger room. It still doesn’t totally compare to cinema sound however. But there are best soundbars that can get you close, especially if it has Dolby Atmos.

What is the Difference Between a 2.1 and a 5.1 Soundbar?

These numbers may mean little to nothing to those who don’t understand soundbars. The first number refers to how many channels a soundbar possesses, and the second is how many subwoofers it has. Generally, the higher these numbers are, the better the sound quality will be. With that said, the 5.1 will deliver less delay and a better overall experience compared to the 2.1.

Conclusion

Buying a soundbar is similar to buying other types of technology. You never know what you are going to get but you can make an educated guess on the best soundbar for your needs. That’s why the guarantee/warranty are so important. If you are looking for a small soundbar, it may be because you have a smaller TV or limited room. A good trick is to mount the soundbar on your wall to keep out of your way. First determine what it is you are looking for in terms of overall experience before you decide which of the best soundbars is for you. Good luck with your next purchase!

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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